Brede and big brother a note by Val Haller, founder Valslist.com
I went out to live music the other night; the usual for me. But this gig was anything but the usual. Instead of driving south to a (Chicago) city music venue, I drove north to a suburban basement to give a 13 year old a listen. I don't do this often. Lots of emerging artists send their music my way; I enjoy listening and find some of it is good, with perfect voices, a crisp sound, and good lyrics - - you know, all the right stuff. But this particular kid intrigued me much more.
Listening to new music is what I do all day long. But after awhile the music often starts to sound the same. Regardless of genre, tempo, beat, vibe - it sort of goes away into the background. It's no one's fault, not even mine. I'm not tired or bored. I'm just waiting. For the one that's different. The "one of these things is not like the other" different. And I think I may have just found him.
This young teen's name is Brede Baldwin. A mutual friend sent me a link to Brede's new music video, "Trail of Tears". I remember the night, we had been out for the evening and just returned home. It was late and I was tired. I usually try to unplug at night. It's not my favorite time to chat on the phone, read my email, or listen to new music - too stimulating when all I want to do is wind down from a day of just that. My friend's text said, "Check out this kid - he's 13". Another 13 year old, I thought. I wasn't really interested. But my friend knows my taste, and I trust his, so I clicked to listen. And there it was. The different. My husband Mark will tell you that my mouth dropped open and didn't close. The first word in the song is "Cry". That's all I needed to hear. I'm a fan. I remember I kept repeating the word wow ... But my mind was awhirl and here's why.
What do you with a 13 year old talent who's still in school, still in braces, still growing up? I was wide awake now, making notes of people to whom I would forward the video, connections I might have, planning a house concert for him in my living room... Then I wondered, what do the parents of a young talent do? How do they steer, allow, protect, and promote their child's music career? What does the music career of a 13 year old even look like? I watched the video again. I believe in this kid. But it's for a different reason than you might think. He's 13. He doesn't sing about puppy love. He's different.
Brede has a phenominal voice, perfect pitch, lots of confidence, and his songwriting (with Brad Nye) is impressive. His vibe is sophisticated - moreso than some 20 year olds I know. And yet, he's very much 13, with braces, side-swept bangs, striped t-shirt, and an innocence that's palpable. The juxtaposition of this young artist - and his grown up music talent - sets him apart. There's an authenticity about him. You can't see it. But I felt it when I attended their band practice that night. He's an old soul. The music's in his blood.
I invited Brede and his family to one of my house concerts a month ago. Brede came straight from hockey (his other life) yet he was clearly interested in spending his Saturday afternoon talking music with me. I kept reminding myself he's just 13. He reminds me of another favorite young artist of mine - Birdy (her stage name) - a 16 year old English singer/songwriter who won Britain's Open Mic UK in 2008 at the age of 12. Hers is a sophisticated sound like Brede's - a rare talent at such a young age. I've included videos of both, below.
There's no traditional path for a 13 year old talent in today's music industry. Maybe there never was. But it's easier now to deliver your sound to the world and let the people find you. Birdy's music video, a cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love" has had over 40 million views. The internet is a new music messenger - and the fans will decide your fate. It's anybody's guess as to which young artist will be the next big sound. Perhaps, like Brede, you're the kid next door... until you're more.
Tonight, as you watch The 55th Annual Grammy Awards on CBS, remember this: The nominees, the performers, the winners and the losers - these were somebody's kids next door - the youngsters turned star - whose paths were paved of gold by their fans.
It's fun to dream big. Especially when you're a kid - why not?
Lyrics from Brede's song "Everyday":
"Now, center-stage, feel the light, on my face. Crowd, all around, so alone, in the sound.
'Cuz I found a place, where I'm safe and protected..."
and his song "Fate":
"Fate, come here now. Have your way with my will, can you show me how. Fate, no big "wow". Everyday, just the same, 'less you change somehow..."
|Brede Baldwin - Every Day|
|Birdy - 1901 [Official Music Video]|
Brede Baldwin - Trail Of Tears
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